The FIA World Rallycross Championship presented by Monster Energy is continuing to grow in strength and attract new manufacturers, with Audi AG becoming the latest to announce factory involvement in the sport. Starting this season, the company has ramped up its support of Mattias Ekström’s EKS team to full factory backed status, announcing it as an official program alongside its Formula E and DTM commitments.
Long-standing Audi factory driver Mattias Ekström had formed EKS at the beginning of 2014, subsequently leading the squad to the top spot in the world rankings with great personal commitment within the space of only three years. In the 2016 season, EKS, with the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro, won both the drivers’ and the teams’ world championships against strong competition from Ford, Peugeot, Volkswagen and numerous privateer teams.
“We realize that it’s going to be increasingly difficult for EKS to hold its own against the factory teams, so we chose to intensify our World RX commitment,” explained head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass.
“We laid a lot of groundwork as a team in the first three years, gathered important experiences and set new standards with EKS,” added Ekström. “But it was also clear to us that we’d need support for the future in order to be able to continue on this level. That EKS is now receiving factory backing by Audi makes me very happy. I’m convinced that rallycross has a great future, also with respect to potential electrification.”
While EKS already had access to Audi Sport suppliers and partners before, the further technical development of the all-wheel driven Audi S1 EKS RX quattro will now take place with support from the motorsport department of Audi.